It says something about the direction and tone of this show that the one character arguing for the preservation of life and the rule of law is the most irritating of all the characters by far, and what should have been a gripping argument about goals and methods instead turned into a whiny harangue from a character who’s been offering nothing but whiny harangues for a while now. In other words, on the face of it, we agreed with just about every single thing Dale said but the entire time he was talking, we could only think, “Oh, Dale. Will you ever shut the fuck up?”
Turns out? He will!
We’ve been saying for a while that the show needs a big death. This’ll do nicely, we suppose. Dale should have been a more interesting character than he turned out to be, but it’s clear the writers had no idea how to make his arguments work in this story, which in turn made him come across increasingly wild-eyed and frantic, even though he was always the only one of the characters fighting to preserve some order and sanity in the world. The statements he was making deserved a better mouthpiece than him, and we wonder in retrospect what, exactly, the writers were trying to do with this character. It seems he was meant to be a counter to Shane’s more sociopathic ways, except the writers can’t seem to help making Shane right all of the time and making people like Dale and Rick scramble behind him, weakly offering moral arguments that go nowhere. It’s sort of like the woman issue on this show. Between manipulative, self-centered Lori, fatalistic Andrea, and doormat Carole, it’s hard not to wonder what the hell the writers think of women. With Dale, especially after his gruesome death and string of poorly made arguments, we find ourselves wondering if the writers just slapped a moral argument on him every now and then simply because they knew they were supposed to; not because they felt like what he was arguing had any value. He never once made his arguments well and went from being a likable and warm person to a controlling, meddling, and frankly, somewhat stupid person. Then again, stupidity seems to be rampant with this crowd.
We really, REALLY hate to keep beating this dead horse, but exactly how much tension are we supposed to feel whenever one of these idiots wanders off and walks around like they’re at an outdoor concert? What is the thinking behind allowing Carl to take long walks in the woods alone? Or are we simply to accept that there is no thinking, not with this crew? To which we would ask, then why the hell should anyone of us really give a shit about any of them? The last kid who wandered off from the group? SHOT HER IN THE HEAD. What exactly will it take for these idiots to learn a lesson?
And much like last week, when we sat there open-mouthed at the idea that the writers expected us to care about Herschel’s suicidal daughter (whose name we still can’t remember) after weeks of being expected to care about Carole’s similarly nameless, faceless daughter, we couldn’t believe we were being treated to ANOTHER hour-long argument about whether or not to shoot the person in the barn. Come season 3, the barn will be converted to a suicide treatment center and every lady who gets the lady vapors can be shipped off there so that Rick and Shane can clench their jaws at each other and argue about what to do with her.
In fact, let’s make a short-term prediction for the rest of this season (and none of what’s been happening is in the books, so this isn’t spoiler-y): Randall escapes, endangering the entire group and proving Shane right once again. A lady says something incredibly ladystupid. Someone wanders off. T-Dog leans against a tree and says nothing, his dignity growing with each dialogueless episode.
That about sums it up.
This wasn’t a bad episode, but it was pretty much a Greatest Hits listing of all the things wrong with the scripting on this show. There was a valid and possibly engrossing argument to be had here and once again, the writers proved themselves incapable of handling it in anything but the most basic and perfunctory way.
[Photo Credit: AMC]